We had the good fortune of connecting with Berthine Crèvecoeur West and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Berthine, how do you define success?
I love that question! Success, to me, means freedom. Not necessarily the freedom to do whatever you want, as there are indeed, things which we are obligated to do. However, I mean the type of freedom to choose the type of work I want to do, the freedom to select the clients with whom I want to work, the freedom to create a schedule that balances both my personal and professional lives (which isn’t easy) and the freedom to create space, empower, encourage, educate and inspire others to attain that same success, that same freedom, as well. However, I should note that this freedom and this success is not free. I had to make many mistakes in order to learn and achieve this. It required diligence, a process and intentionality. Friends would always say to me (especially during the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey), how lucky I was that I could work for myself. However, what they (and even I, initially) didn’t realize was that luck had absolutely nothing to do with it. The successful entrepreneur is one that is a futurist. It’s the one who isn’t afraid to fail (several times, at that). It’s one who dusts themselves off and not only focuses on where they currently are in their journey, but is laser-focused on where they want to be and how they want to be. They focus on client needs without sacrificing their integrity. Success requires responsibility, to both your clients and yourself. I’m grateful for it all.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My story began with what could have been considered a failure: I got laid off from my first and only job here in Atlanta, just when I learned that my husband and I were expecting our baby. Needless to say, I was at a loss as to what I was going to do next. After 1 day of mourning a job I, admittedly, never enjoyed, the next day decided to create what would become the foundation of my company and our signature training platforms. I performed a SWOT analysis on myself, not only to discover my strengths and weaknesses, but to also create a rubric that would empower me to do not only what I was great at, but what I also enjoyed doing! Oftentimes, in life, the two are not aligned and it requires a degree of intentionality and clarity on our parts to make them so. After this analysis, I realized that I could use my multilingual skills (I am a speaker of 4 languages), as well as the knowledge that I had amassed while working in the corporate, legal and financial sectors. I knew that entrepreneurship was the right and only path for me to achieve my goals and empower others to achieve theirs, as well. I believe that the power of knowledge is transformational. As a Conflict Resolution Strategist, I also know that conflict of any sort arises from either a skills gap, a knowledge gap or the combination of both. As a DEI Strategist, I realized that traditional DEI trainings were usually unsuccessful for a variety of reasons, but mostly because the DEI trainings I had taken across the country were focused only on teaching one group about every other group (which is not actually inclusive and creates the false notion that all underrepresented groups share a monolithic experience). In addition to that, most traditional DEI trainings I have encountered have been centered around politically-correct language, which is oftentimes inaccurate and vague. I knew that if Westbridge Solutions was going to truly empower people and organizations to achieve diverse, inclusive and equitable mindsets and cultures that we had to break away from the traditional paradigm. I set this course and have never looked back. People choose to work with us because of our capacity, knowledge and ability to marry softs skills training (skills gaps) with knowledge gaps (cultural competence) to create customized trainings for individuals, teams and organizations at every level. We call this process Organizational Actualization. We also deviate from our competition by realizing that DEI trainings must be trained from various standpoints: the C-Suite from an Organizational standpoint, Management from a Managerial Standpoint and Staff from a day-to-day interactive standpoint. This is what sets Westbridge Solutions apart and makes us successful.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love living locally and thinking globally, so naturally, ATL is one of the best places to be! So many places to go, people to meet and sites to see! We would first start locally, right here in Gwinnett County. One of my favorite places to go is a restaurant called Mojitos Cuban American Bistro in Norcross. I’ve been going there for years. Not only is the food absolutely amazing, but the atmosphere, the music and especially the owners, are so welcoming! The next day, we would head out to ATL proper and visit CNN, the World of Coke, the Aquarium, grab lunch at The Varsity and ride the Ferris wheel, while people-watching and catching up on old times. Later on in the week, we would return to ATL and visit the Civil Rights Museum and then head to Murphy’s restaurant. We would wrap up the week by strolling through Downtown Lawrenceville after grabbing a bite at some of my favorite spots: The Peachtree Cafe, Universal Joint or Local Republic – fantastic owners, all with same welcoming vibe! Clearly, you can tell that we are foodies! We would visit the local shops because there are so many wonderful small businesses and I so enjoy chatting with the owners. After that, we’d most certainly spend the rest of the time on the couch, watching movies and catching up, which is what we do best!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
As it takes a village to raise an entrepreneur, there are many people who have played a role in my success. My biggest supporter, by far, has been my beloved husband and partner, Karl West. When I decided to start my journey as an entrepreneur, I was 7 months pregnant with our son. Needless to say, we were about to experience two major life changes – first, as new parents and second, embracing the challenges (much of which were unknown, at the time) that entrepreneurship brings. There were times when I thought of quitting and when I nearly shut down the company. However, through it all, he reminded me of who I was, how far I had come and how happy this work made me – not to mention, how much still had to be accomplished! While I am on stage, giving interviews or facilitating Executive Coaching or trainings, he is being an amazing father and life partner, all while balancing the demands of his own career. So, most definitely, I dedicate my Shoutout to him and our beloved son.
Other: The Global Fluency Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-global-fluency-podcast/id1464472504 Global Fluency Magazine (exclusively on Patreon): https://www.patreon.com/globalfluencypodcast Global Fluency Summit: https://globalfluencysummit.com/ Global Fluency Apparel: https://www.facebook.com/GlobalFluencyApparel
Photo Credit: Cydney Rhines, Into Creation Studios